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Congress considers more TV ratings bills in face of objections

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Congress considers more TV ratings bills in face of objections 04/07/97 WASHINGTON, D.C.--Another bill has been introduced in Congress prompted…

Congress considers more TV ratings bills in face of objections

04/07/97

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Another bill has been introduced in Congress prompted by displeasure with the television industry’s voluntary “TV Parental Guidelines.”

Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced a bill in mid-March which would allow parents and other concerned parties to give input on the guidelines either through a toll-free number or though a computer network site.

After February Senate hearings, federal lawmakers had introduced three bills later in the month which would require either that less violence be shown on television while children were in the audience or that programming be subject to a content-based — rather than the current age-based — ratings system.

Labeled the “Parents’ Voice in Television Act of 1997,” Kennedy’s bill requires the FCC to hear complaints and recommendations on how to amend the current system by use of the phone number and computer site, to make available the information gathered including the top 50 programs with the highest number of complaints, and to have the FCC report to Congress on whether the needs of the public and children are being met. Kennedy noted that the current guidelines were limited only to network industry input while excluding suggestions from parents and viewers. (H.R. 1017)